Thank you words should be given out freely every single day. They are only two small words that are really not hard to say and you should not have to look far to find use for them.
The following article gives homage to our veterans beyond Memorial Day and Veteran's Day with simple thank you words.
Talk of the Town -- The meaning of "thank you" to veterans
At Mom School, a good part of the first quarter is spent on teaching our kids manners. I bet we drilled on "please" and "thank you" for two weeks.
"You're welcome" is a secondary class and not mandatory, but Moms do get bonus points if our children are ever heard using these magic words.
It shouldn't be hard for us as children we were goaded into reciting the "magic word" whenever we wanted something. We soon learned how happy our parents would be if we said "thank you." But it was hard to remember.
Sometimes it still is.
For the past 20 years, I've known that saying "thank you" words on Memorial Day and Veterans Day is not only good manners but most likely the only thing veterans and their families want to hear. But it's been hard to say.
I'd not personally known someone who had "gone to war." I had not lost a grandfather or an uncle in World War II or Vietnam. It seemed disingenuous to say thank you. It felt more like a platitude you say to the person giving you change at the gas station, not to the child who had lost a father, or a veteran you had only just met.
A few years ago, I invited Col. Walter Halloran to join me for a chat on the radio. A listener had tipped me off that Walter was about to return to the beaches of Normandy to take part in a French documentary about the 60th anniversary of D-Day.
Walt was a tough nut to crack. I called many times before I reached his sweet wife and convinced her to help coax him to the studio.
My main goal was to understand why World War II vets were so hesitant to share their stories. Hundreds of them were dying every day, and the stories were being lost. I didn't understand until I met Walt.
During our first conversation, he carefully said that the soldiers who didn't come home were the ones who should be remembered. Survivors of that war didn't tell their stories because they felt it would somehow take the focus off those who had lost their lives.
I had never thought of it that way.
In the few years since we first talked, I had gotten a sense that more and more World War II veterans were opening up about their war experiences. Indeed, Walter has opened up. He was interviewed for the documentary and then spoke on KROC with me. He was interviewed by the Post-Bulletin and by TV stations as he took part in one of the Honor Flights to Washington, D.C., last year.
I'm so proud of him when I hear him share his story. I know it is a hard thing to do, and I know that Walter and many other veterans are uncomfortable in the spotlight.
Earlier this week, Col. Halloran joined me on the Talk of the Town live blog at Postbulletin.com.
"These Honor Flight trips appear to have awakened a great sense of patriotism and respect for those who came home, married the gal of their dreams, went to work, raised a family, paid their taxes and got on with their life," Walter wrote.
I hope that more veterans and families will be able to make the trip to Washington to see their memorial and to tell their stories.
At the end of our chat together on Talk of the Town, Walter wrote, "After so many terrible days so far from home, a wonderful life continues to be beautiful, example: we had our second great-grandchild today. Life is good."
I couldn't agree more. At times, life may not be fair, or beautiful or even fun, but life is good. That ought to be reason enough to say thank you.
Two small words still do not feel big enough or deep enough for what I really mean. I will never understand all that these men and women sacrificed and endured, but I am grateful for having met men like Col. Walter Halloran.
Thank you, Walter.
On June 8, Walter will join three other WWII veterans to speak on their own personal stories from the battle for St. Lo, France. I would strongly recommend an evening spent listening to the first-person accounts of this chapter of the war.
Favorite quote from this article about thank you words:
"At times, life may not be fair, or beautiful or even fun, but life is good.
That ought to be reason enough to say thank you."
Don't forget to say thank you to someone today. And if the opportunity presents itself to say 'thank you' to our veterans of war, whether you know them or not, please do not pass it by.
Thank You Note Wording ~ The Blog
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